Madagascar President narrowly escaped assassination attempt

Police in Madagascar have arrested six persons, including one foreign national, for allegedly conspiring to assassinate President Andry Rajoelina.

The arrests, according to Attorney General Berthine Razafiarivony, took place on Tuesday, July 20 as part of a months-long probe “into an attack on state security.”

Though the nationality of the foreign suspects has not been confirmed, Razafiarivony stated that the foiled plot included the “killing and neutralization” of top political figures other than the president.

He said; 

“According to the evidence in our possession, these individuals had devised a plan for the elimination and neutralisation of a number of people including the head of state.”

Officials did not give details on the extent of the plot or how far advanced it was when the suspects were apprehended. 

A separate statement by the public security minister on Wednesday said that six people had been arrested: one foreign citizen, two dual nationals, and three Madagascans.

The minister said; 

“The police had information for several months, but only now was there an opportunity to arrest them.”

Madagascar has a history of political violence. Former coup leader Andry Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president in 2019 after a hard-fought election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival.

Rajoelina first seized power in the deeply impoverished former French colony of 26 million in a March 2009 coup, ousting Marc Ravalomanana. He remained in control at the head of a transitional government until 2014.

The island is internationally famed for its unique wildlife and vanilla but is heavily dependent on foreign aid. Nine out of 10 people live on less than $2 a day.

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